Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Canada overreacts

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Both Israel and the United States toned down their rhetoric following the UN General Assembly's overwhelming vote to grant Palestine special status as a non-member state. They could see there was nothing to gain from threats and that the best strategy was to work with the new reality. In Canada, however, the story was entirely different.

Foreign Minister John Baird recalled the country's diplomats from the region for urgent consultations and discussions about "all available next steps." The possibility of cutting aid to the Palestinian people was not ruled out.

Canada's alliance with Israel -- its best friend forever under the Harper government -- is admirable, but the country's bellicose response to a largely symbolic development is embarrassing and amateurish.

Israel may have been nearly alone on the controversy, but Canada is way out on a precarious ledge by itself.

In fact, a Palestinian official called Canada's behaviour "strange" and added the Harper government had "disqualified" itself from a future role in the peace process.

Canada's support for Israel is admirable and correct, but Mr. Baird needs to abandon the hyperbole and fear-mongering in favour of constructive ideas and action.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 1, 2012 A14

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